Man, the Male Leadership Role as Directed by God - Part 21
Now we look at the marriage "contract" the husband and wife, in association with the term "church."
Can or should a man and his wife, in an open meeting of the church, disagree, debate or argue in the presence of other believers? No. What would be the result? Disaster and discord. It would seem that, for the good of the church, in accordance to God's plan, the woman must "keep silence" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) in church business meetings as well. This probably goes against the grain of many, but the resolution is quite simple.
When the church is properly organized and directed, all issues to be addressed at a meeting should be stated beforehand. It is called an agenda. This is a normal standard of church By-laws, as well as Parliamentary Procedure.
Discussions on the issues between a husband and wife should be held at home. Whether agreement or understanding is had between the two, the final decision of the "family" should be presented by the man of the family. Should the two not be able to accept this role of leadership and presentation, it is suggested that the man should stay silent as well.
As to widows and unmarried, the Elder/Deacon Board was formed in Acts 6:1-7 to handle these issues. Interestingly, when these "men" (and they were all men) did their job properly, there was an immediate attack of the "libertines"as seen in the remainder of this chapter of Acts.
And, by the way, if the man is not the head of the household spiritually, he has no business sitting as an elder or deacon, or any leadership, decision making board of the church(s).
So we have God’s command regarding this facet of the issue. It has structure, as well as a safeguard for those that would, according to some, not be represented.
Now we must address those that look to 1 Corinthians 11:5 for their support of women in the ministry. We find this to be quite a stretch as well as an unqualified argument for at least three reasons.
First, the issue is one of dress not position. Here, Paul is addressing the need of a pious woman to wear a head covering when in the general public. There is no consensus of theologians as to the need for Greek women to wear a covering in public. However, there is evidence to believe married women were expected to wear something or be perceived has having "loose morals."
Add to this that the word used, "gune," (see above) is used. This word is indicative of a married woman as opposed to "paidion" (3813) or "korasion" (2877). As to these last two "identities," we find they normally applied to younger women or girls who seem to have had no requirement of a headdress. Mark 5:41-42 uses each and interchangeably. The debate continues on this.
Second, we cannot be sure Paul is addressing customs of the day. Note in verse 2 he talks about "ordinances" he delivered. We must remember the church is a "world-styled" organization and would, therefore, be prone to worldly direction if not properly directed. And by properly, we mean directed by the Word of God, not the male positioning.
Outside of the Gospels, most of writers of the New Testament are addressing organizational things in some manner, including upgrades of previous directives needed for the building of this new entity. These "upgraded" directives are from God to the original apostles and are not changes, but additions as time and need require, and in a timely fashion no different than how a plan is laid out and directed by the CEO’s of industry today.
It is more probable that Paul is addressing this area of their personal lives "again." He has had, and continues to have, mounds of trouble with the church and its people regarding their slipping back to pagan tradition or misusing their new gifts or freedom for things for which they were not meant.
Akin to these first two are debates about prostitutes of the day; their advertisements, tattoos, sandals, dress, and especially with men, long hair and short hair. This is an interesting study but we must leave it for another time, or for personal study.
1 Corinthians 11:5 brings us to the very important work of the believer, that which this verse is addressing. That is witnessing. We may not apply this verse to women "keeping silence," because it is not addressed to woman attending a church service in a church building, but in the open air, among unbelievers. And it is directed to them by Paul in a positive manner.
The "genderless" Christian is to share their belief with all those around them whenever the opportunity permits. God has commanded this of the Apostles, Mark 16:15, who in turn taught "us" who in turn continued and expanded the work and mission, though not by "our" design, Acts 8:4.
It is quite interesting there is no mention of "church" or "churches" in this portion of 1 Corinthians. That is because the Bible is speaking to everyday life and interaction.
Women, as do men, have an obligation to share their testimony. Here in 1 Corinthians 11:5, we see women "praying" and "prophesying," but it is not in the "church," the church building in a church service where our key verses, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
And let’s not get all caught up in "prophesying." That has several definitions, the ones which come to mind mostly are "prophesying" about the future by quoting scripture and the second, "witnessing" which is a form of the Greek word for "prophesying." The issue here is not one of being in the church building but in the public eye. It is not the machinations of the church but the actions of the individual believers.
Although we will end up in the church service a few verses further on in chapter 11, specifically communion, these lead-in verses are about personal life "outside of the church" in the sight of the community. As with bumper stickers and other attachments on our cars, we signal what we are and what we believe to others through our actions. One can be sure all of Corinth knew about the "new sect" and were watching them closely. Paul is commanding them to show a proper respect to themselves and their family through their manner of dress. There is no mention here that women must "keep silence."
From this viewpoint, we must agree with those that apply this verse to women’s ministries, do so in error. But women most definitely have a place in the furtherance of the Gospel.
This verse also answers the question of women missionaries, i.e., are they proper. The answer is "Yes." Any Christian may and should present the Gospel to the unsaved in every opportunity. However, an organized assembly of believers, a church, is not to be confused with the individuals mission obligations.
Where the "church" is "assembled" for worship and instruction, women are forbidden to preach, teach or direct the activities of the body, specifically the man. This is God’s word. We have no right to circumvent His word or give it new meaning to fit our needs and wants.
We come now to those controlling verses on this subject in the New Testament. These words, properly defined and taken in context, state exactly that which God does not approve.
And we will look at them next time.